This week I have a guest blog that cut right to the heart of what depression is and what it looks like. Take a look at what is going on with the people around you and be cognizant of any changes in them. You never know where and when depression may strike.
I can’t stand this constant feeling of self-doubt and worthlessness. I’ve always been one that has poo-pooed mental health issues, especially “depression”. Maybe I felt that the term was just thrown around too often and easily, or that I possibly didn’t think it truly existed. That was until just recently when I came to the realization that I was stuck in the middle of a depressive episode that wouldn’t go AWAY!! I’ve always had these feeling of self-doubt, low self-esteem, sadness, fatigue, etc., but I would simply attribute it to stress. Everyone has stress, everyone feels this way sometimes, right?? As I write this, I hope it provides me with a way to deal with this current episode. About 2-3 weeks ago, with the start of a new school year, I noticed these feelings starting overcoming me. As I dismissed it as stress, I went about my normal routine of exercising, eating right, working on what I was passionate about (PE, Teaching).
Previously, these feeling would subside after a day or two so I wouldn’t think anything of it. This time days went by and they were still there, getting stronger. One of the first things I did was look up symptoms of “depression” on WebMD, Mayo Clinic, and CDC websites. As I scanned the list of symptoms I was able to check them ALL of, and it hit me like a ton of bricks!! The biggest thing that I noticed was that I had NO desire to do anything that normally mattered to me. I stopped working out, began to eat like crap, had no interest in Social Interaction (left all Social Media). To make things worse, this all began as the school year started. I do my best to put on a good show at school!! It’s a struggle at times, but being with the kids makes it easier. By the end of the day, I’m beyond exhausted. I’m at the point where I stopped bringing anything home to work on, I’m considering NOT having my after-school running program, stopped helping other teachers. I tend to stay in my hole, come and go without much interaction at all. It’s tough to get excited about things when you feel like nobody appreciates you and what you try to offer. Professionally, I’ve offered to help or be apart of special/extra groups or projects that I’m extremely interested in, but have been told no or have simply heard no response after days/weeks.
I’m at the point where I stopped bringing anything home to work on, I’m considering NOT having my after-school program, stopped helping other teachers. I tend to stay in my hole, come and go without much interaction at all. It’s tough to get excited about things when you feel like nobody appreciates you and what you try to offer. Professionally, I’ve offered to help or be apart of special/extra groups or projects that I’m extremely interested in, but have been told no or have simply heard no response after days/weeks.
It’s hard to quantify what it’s like to have these thoughts and feelings. I’m constantly exhausted, no interest in hobbies/passions, self-doubt, worthlessness, anger, sadness, even suicide. There have been times in which I’ve put considerable thought into the easiest way to kill myself(where and how). In these periods of absolute darkness, it’s been my Kids that squash any of these thoughts. It becomes almost impossible to love anyone else when you don’t love yourself. My kids have been the only exception. I couldn’t imagine putting them through the loss of their father. And although I don’t always have love to give, they seem to find a way to sure their love with me. If I didn’t have them in my life, I’m not sure I’d be writing this.
I look back over the past 20 years and it hits me that this isn’t the first time I’ve experienced these thoughts and feelings!! I can honestly say that I’ve probably ruined many relationships because of it. Truthfully, I don’t have many friends! None from high school, college, work or my neighborhood. I used to always blame others for not calling, hanging out, etc. As I come to terms with what’s actually happening I’d be willing to bet I had a large part in how things transpired. I hope that by finally acknowledging what I’m going through I can keep from ruining the few relationships I have. There are a handful of friends, you know who you are, that I truly respect and admire who have influenced me to share my experience. Without them, I would never have the courage to share my story.
As this inner fight continues, I hope to find the strength to overcome these feelings of isolation and despair. I ask you to always consider the emotional state of others as we may not realize what they are going through. If someone you know becomes distant, temperamental or just “off” please reach out, show you care! The smallest gesture could mean the world of difference to someone.
I know life is turbulent with school starting, the state of our country, family, and every other emotional and physical drain we have. However, we can’t forget that the individuals that surround us have to be a priority. Please make sure that you are checking in with your loved ones and making them feel that you care about them. Thank you for reading this blog and I love you all.
Depression is real. It appears in family members, professional colleagues and close friends. Fortunately, we have a wide variety of resources available to each of us if we are able to reach out for the help we need. Even strong PE teachers and coaches who are “holding the world together” need to understand that depression is just more than a single person can handle alone. Find someone to help you through this battle of thinking. You are never too strong to ask for help. Please…
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How might we surround and support in love when these signs become visible to us? Thank you for being candid and transparent about something that many may not realize is impacting them.
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It sure happens to any of us and as you mentioned, although the world that surrounds us is not very promising there is always light at the end of the tunnel.